Dost thou have aught to say?

He sighed, leaning back on his heels, rocking forward on his toes, and nodded, slowly. "A few things, if you don't mind."


"It was all rather a set-up, wasn't it? There was no way to win. Not for us."

Dost thou complain that 'it wasn't fair?' Námo sounded almost amused, or nearly, though he was never that. The laugh dragged from the throat of the Eldar before him was full of the same lack of amusement.

"Dost thou deny it?" His voice was perilously close to mocking.

You walk a dangerous line, son of Fëanor.

"Really." Now it was his turn to sound amused. "What have I left to lose? I am dead, if I am correct, and that's not going to change in the foreseeable future, yes?" The Vala declined to answer, and the Noldoran Elf continued. "The purpose of my life has been quite pointless, the entirety of my family but for one nephew who has disowned me is dead and lost. I'm not entirely certain what danger there is anymore, frankly." He paused, again, and shrugged. "But I will trust that you can come up with something."

Thou dost have a grim sense of humor, son of Fëanor.

"I need it." Flatly. "Did you want to hear the rest of it or not?"

Go on.

"We had nowhere to go but forward. Ultimately, it was Eru who made us the way we are – loyal to the end. Would we have abandoned our father? No, and I think you knew it. I think you knew what would happen when you, Lord, sentenced us, and you laid the pieces out and watched us do just as you expected."

Thou wouldst blame me for the death of innocents, son of Fëanor? You dare too much.

"And I hardly know what you can do to me now, Lord, that would matter in the least." There was something bleak in the way he said it, beaten, defeated. "No. I don't blame you. The deaths are still ours. I merely think that you set my family up to fall, so that we had no other options."

Thou wouldst have been forgiven.

"And how were we to know that? It certainly sounded final when you said it. Were we simply to wait, then, and wring our hands in hope of forgiveness? What then? We held Morgoth back. We held Beleriand against him for millennia while you did nothing!"

Judgment was heavy in Námo's voice, though never anger. And now thou dost accuse negligence. Would you have me subject to my own judgment, son of Fëanor?

"Not your judgment," the Elf challenged, defiantly. "No. You asked if I had anything to say. I do. But why do you need to listen to a Kinslayer? Surely you've heard this all before."

Never. I listen in the hope of hearing some remorse in your heart.

At this, the Elf stilled, looked up at the face he could not see, something else in his expression. "Oh, yes, I have remorse. Remorse for my brothers, who died in folly. I close my eyes and can see their bodies on the inside of my eyelids. I have remorse, yes."

And for those thou hast killed?

He laughed, that strange, soft, mirthless laugh. "All is fair in love and war," he murmured, and there was a brief and profound silence.

is that all? It wasn't gentle, the voice intoning final doom, endings without beginnings.

He considered that, seeming thoughtful. "I don't have any reason to care about your judgment anymore," he said, thoughtfully. "It means nothing. If we are Dispossessed of Valinor, then surely we are Dispossessed of the Valar as well."

No. A simple answer, with no explanation, and another long quiet.

"I miss the dog," he said, eventually. "I…really, really miss the dog."

And that is all?

"Yes," he said, and looked up again, almost defiant, almost sorrowful. "That is all."

Then come.

A brief flash, like fire, and then he was gone. Námo sat still, listening to something, and thinking perhaps, though there was no expression in his face or eyes, and never would be.